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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What Do I Read in My Bathroom?!

I am sure that is a burning question each and every one of you have isn't it?  Well, thanks to my bloggy friend way over on the other side of the continent in Canada, Hydrant Girl, you're going to find out!  It's really not as fascinating as hers.  I mean, even though we share the same pasty, pale white legs, I don't happen to have a television in my bathroom.  She does, seriously, and I am jealous. 

This, my friends, is a panoramic shot of my bathroom taken from the vantage point of, well, the 'throne' as my guy friends call it.  I am willing to bet that I am probably the first and only person to ever take a panoramic shot of her bathroom.  We've had that horrid shower curtain forever.  In fact, in browsing other homes for sale I've come across the same curtain in other people's bathroom at least three or four times.  The curtains?  They were made by the woman who lived in the house before and are basically a tan piece of fabric.  Hey... I never claimed to be Martha Stewart and I'm not petitioning Better Homes and Gardens to come visit.  

So getting to the point...

This is what I (we...) read in the bathroom.  Its basically a giant stack of magazines that never seems to get any smaller.  The biggest problem is that my mom gave me a free subscription to TIME about three years ago and the magazines just keep coming.  Since I don't spend a whole heck of a lot of time in the bathroom I don't get a chance to finish the articles I'm reading.  Then a new TIME magazine arrives with new articles to read that I never get to finish reading either.  Its quite the circular dilemma.  There is also a soduko book thrown in there just to make us seem more intellectual in our down time.

There isn't just TIME thrown in that pile.  It seems there is something for everyone, from a hard rock drummer to preppy golfer and a soccer mom looking for new slacks.  There's even a snowmobile catalog from last winter.  I just can't bare myself to throw it away because it's filled with so much stuff I want that I definitely can't afford.  

Do I read books or novels in the bathroom?  No. 
Do I talk on the phone in the bathroom?  Not unless you call when I'm about to pee my pants.  I absolutely cannot stand it when people talk on the phone while they are on the toilet.  gross. 
I do, however, use my laptop on occasion when I am knee deep in work. 
Don't worry.  This post was not typed while in the bathroom (in case you were wondering...)

Now is the fun part.

I am passing this question on to my friends:

And YOU!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Fight of the Bumble Bee

When no one is falling down or having heart attacks while I am at work it is not unusual to find me buried with my face into some plant, camera in hand, stalking mother nature.  This weekend during a quiet day shift I was outside in our aged flower beds pursing an incredible florescent green bee on a purple flower with my macro lens.

The bee was really that green.  Actually, I would almost call it chartreuse.  It didn't seem to care that I was in its face as it sucked up the pollen glistening on the petals. It walked from stamen to stamen as I changed the angle of the camera and then out of nowhere....

Apparently bees don't like to share their stamens.  Who knew?   These two fought in a fury of wings and stingers so rapidly that I couldn't focus in on them correctly.  Then one fell off the flower and was no more.  

The victorious bee then went about it's business like nothing had happened.   I couldn't tell whether it was the original bee or the invading one.  In the world of bees it doesn't matter as long as the pollen is collected and in the world of photography it doesn't matter as long as it makes a good photo in the end!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Why I Missed the Lunar Eclipse

In the early morning hours all across North America there was a visible partial lunar eclipse.  Its been decades since I last saw a lunar eclipse.  When I was very young I remember looking our my bedroom window on a cool summer night and seeing my parents standing in the backyard pointing at the sky.  The moon was blood red and filled my head through of nightmarish thoughts since my five year old mind couldn't understand the science behind the colored moon.  That's my only memory of a lunar eclipse and despite the one that was visible yesterday I was a little preoccupied at the peak moments of visibility.

**Disclaimer** This story has been "fictionalized" and all identifying details have been changed, removed, or otherwise altered for entertainment purposes.  This is not a representation of any actual person or event.

It wasn't quite dawn yet, but rather the kind of early where when we are called we don't use our sirens.  There's no need.  No one is on the road and I am a nice enough person where I don't want to wake those that are more fortunate than I, still in bed, oblivious to it all.  We were headed out into the brush of Vermont for a "lift assist".  So many of our calls are for people who have "fallen and can't get up", but we take it in stride and drive out into the far off yonder to pick up gramma or grampa from the floor.  

We arrived at a trailer overgrown with tall grass and long neglected flower arrangements.  Tacky welcoming signs covered the door with cats and flowers and bumble bees.  A friendly man greeted us "She's in her room on the floor. Just needs a help up" he said.  The inside of the trailer smelled like a musty pet store.  A ankle biting dog could be heard barking behind a closed door.  There was too much furniture in the tiny living room and photos of dozens of family members over many generations hung on the wood paneled walls.  Most of them were crooked. The hallway beyond the living room that led to the woman was barely wider than our medical bag.  We squeezed through and arrived at the narrow doorway of the woman's room.  

A rather large lady was laying on the floor next to her bed. She was overtly pleasant and smiled at us as we introduced ourselves.  Immediately she told us she wasn't hurt and just couldn't get up.  My partner and I bent down, counted to three, and heaved her from laying to sitting.  As she caught her breath and we talked about the next step to help her to a standing position that large woman laughed and coughed a raspy cough simultaneously.  "But, you're so tiny! How are you ever going to lift my large self?" she said to me after she caught her breath from the cough.  I blushed.  Its true I am no body builder, but I can lift my share of weight.  "Oh, thank you ma'am.  Don't you worry.  I've had lots of practice."  I told her.  It sounded like a joke, but really there's more truth behind that than humor.  

The woman cleared her throat.  It had a phlegmy sound, as if she needed a drink of water.  She turned and looked at me in the eye with a beaming smile on her face.  "You know, when I was your age, many years ago, I was your size." I tried to hide the inappropriate thoughts that flashed into my head.... lord help me if I ever triple my weight and how the heck did that happen to her?  Instead I smile and searched for a witty reply that never came.  I could tell that she was proud of her past body image and all I could offer was my honest smile in return.  Oh, how time had changed this woman.  

With another count to three and a heave-ho the woman was on her feet and shaking out her legs.  She was a little stiff, but shuffled out of her tiny room that was more like a closet and headed into the over furnished living room.  We take care of the normal paperwork as the woman proudly tells us about all of her children, grandchildren, and even a few great-grand children she has to her legacy.  Again her eyes are beaming.  As we head out the door we bid her and the man good morning and a good rest of the day.  Since we stepped into the house the sun had risen.  Dew was glistening on the over grown grass.  My partner and I headed back to the station, each taking turns yawning on the way.  

Maybe one of these days I will get to see an eclipse.  The next one that will be visible here is on December 21st, 2010. I am excited to think I may actually get to see a lunar eclipse, but I am also excited to think of what I may be doing that prevents me from seeing it. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wait. I Need your Opinion First!

This month's photo assignment is about to come to an end!  There have been some wonderful bokeh entries
that I are utterly amazing.  Its definitely going to be tough to choose one photo from the group to win a copy of "Complete Digital Photography the Fifth Edition".  The book has already arrived and let me tell you, it is an AMAZING text! Its filled with incredible insight and education as well as some breathtaking photos and how-tos.  I think I am going to have to get myself a copy.  There is still time for you to enter if you haven't.  A winning photo won't be chosen and announced until July 1st. 

I've been twirling around a few ideas for the next photo assignment in my head, but its very hard to choose!   That is where you I need your opinion.  Please head on over to my "NEK Photography Blog" and vote for your favorite idea for a photo assignment next month. 

Can't wait to see what you choose! 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I Heart Faces - Pets!

As you know I have many pets for someone who doesn't own a farm! This is Sutton, our four year old black lab.  One boring and rainy afternoon I decided to have some fun with him and my camera.  I dressed him up in my green hoodie and used him as a model.  He obliged by taking a nap.  It was a great afternoon.

To check out all the entries for "the Pets Photo Challenge" please visit the "I Heart Faces" webpage!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Because I'm a Storm Chaser. Obviously.

I had a flashback to being seventeen yesterday.  Now if you knew me when I was seventeen than this story would all make sense.  For those of you who didn't I will give you a little preface...

Flash back to 2002.
When I was seventeen I had a heavy foot.  Police officers around the county new my name and, more importantly, my car, the good old Pontiac Sunbird convertible. Don't let the make of the car fool you.  Every single time I turned the engine over and pressed my foot to the accelerator I had Mario Andriette pumping through my veins.  It was as if I had stepped onto the Monster Mile of Dover Downs Raceway where every I drove.  I was down right dangerous.  Somehow I skirted any serious accident, but time and time again I was pulled over and "warned" about "slowing it down a little" by nice policemen.  I'd say maybe it was a cute little girl smiling behind the steering wheel the convinced them to let me off the hook with stern words, but I could be wrong.  It may have just been luck or they were having a good day or they didn't want to do the paperwork.  I felt like I was invincible.  Then my speeding caught up with me...

In a span of three months I received a whopping five speeding tickets.  Two of them were within twenty minutes of each other (that's a story in itself...).  My parents kicked me off their insurance.  Court dates were scheduled.  Points were added to my license.  And then came the real consequences.  My license was suspended for accumulation of points.  After one point in Maryland on a provisional  license you have to take a drivers education course.  After two points you're suspended for fifteen days.  Three points is an additional 30 days.  Four points is an additional 60 days and for every point there after you get a whopping 180 days of suspension.  I had a total of eight points.  Yes, eight.  Actually, I had accumulated thirteen points, which was enough to REVOKE my license for two years.  Fortunately some intricate mailing, scheduling of my tickets, and pleading to judges reduced my fines and points considerably.  Even with those eight points I was up for over two and a half years of a suspended license.  How long was my license really suspended thanks to persuasive testimony and a plea that I was learning to be an EMT?  Fifteen days.  That was long enough when you are a seventeen year old girl with a busy social calendar.  When I was eighteen my horrible driving record was expunged and I moved off to Vermont with a clean license to drive.

Flash Forward to 2010.
Eight years later my driving habits haven't really changed.  All the motor vehicle accidents I see have made me a chronic seat belt wearer, but done nothing to bade my chronic lead foot.  Somehow I've managed to skirt the law for eight years.... until yesterday. 

I decided to leave the house and chase after a thunderstorm that was forming off to the east.  Thunderstorms don't happen often way up here and I have still yet to capture a decent lightning photo.  As I headed off into the wilderness I was taking one last glance before I lost service at my weather radar app on my iPhone and realized I was rather far behind the storm.  I needed to catch up.  My right foot pressed down a little harder on the pedal and the needle on my speedometer moved just a little more towards the right.  A pair of headlights appeared at the far end of the straightaway.  I kept cruising.  Then the vehicle was close enough for me to realize that it was a state police patrol car.  Blue lights came on and I could see the officer gesture for me to pull over, but I was already putting on my blinker and off in the gravel.  This wasn't my first rodeo.  The officer approached my car and just looked at me for a moment.  I was all smiles, on the verge of laughing, because I knew it wasn't going to be good.  Sometimes when things are bad all you can do is laugh.

"Hi there. Are you responding to a call?" 

"No Ma'am."  I said.

"Well, why were you speeding?" 

"Well, to be honest, this is going to sound silly...."

"Ok. Try me." 

"See that storm way over there on the horizon?  Well I am trying to catch up to it and take some photos.  That's what I do.  I take photos."

"So your a....uh... storm chaser of sorts?"

"Well, more so a photographer, but I try to be I guess." 

"I see....  Okay then.  Well sit right there."

I sat on the side of the road and waited patiently for the inevitable.  While waiting I called Shawn who was less than impressed and reminded me more of my father than he ever has in our entire relationship to the point where I wondered if Oedipus Rex really is true.   The officer finally finished verifying who I was, whether I had any warrants, whether my car was registered, and then walked back up to my window with a ticket in hand.  She gave me the normal speech of how to appeal and how many days I had to pay it. 

"Slow down."

"Thanks Ma'am. I know."       Really I do.  I'm just an idiot.  Not ignorant.

So how fast was I going?  Well, lets put it this way... I was on a three mile long straightaway and I am going to have to work more than one shift at my part time job to pay for it.

Its Friday Follow!
I'd love for you to follow me along through the absurdities and abnormabilties that are my life!
Just click the follow button on the right sidebar if you haven't already :)
If you love the occasional good photograph you should stick around too.
And please check out my fellow Friday follow friends!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The "Ten PM" Rule.

My husband and I have a problem.  It all starts with the fact that we each have our own laptop computer.  That's right.  We don't share.  Well, its not that we couldn't share, but a matter of sheer time apart from one another where having two computers is a necessity. And maybe its a tiny bit excessive, but no more excessive than those people trading in their perfectly good iPhone 3S for a iPhone 4.  I'm happy with my perfectly good, utterly outdated 3G, thank you.  

When Shawn and I were home together we had this unusual habit that quickly became an addiction.  Each of us would sit at opposite ends of the couch with our glowing computer screen in our laps.  We'd have conversations about what each of us would find on the internet.  Someone's face book status, a news story, a tweet that made us laugh.  It brought us together at first and then our conversations turned into intermittent comments that soon morphed into the rare primal sounding grunts.  Something had to be done before he whacked me over the head with a giant club and drug me up the stairs by my hair.  

In order to preserve some semblance of intelligent human interaction we instituted a new rule.  "The Ten PM Rule" I call it.  At ten o'clock every evening we are home together both of us must stop everything we are doing on our laptops, close them up, and put them away for the evening.  While we are only awake for probably another hour or two tops it is a big step for us.  Those couple of hours we spend without any distractions of tweets and statuses or emails and blogs, but it has made us relax and enjoy being with one another. We are able to communicate on a higher level than Neanderthals.

I know we can't be the only couple with an issue like this, right?  Try something similar in your home and you'll soon realize that the thought "What would I do without..."  really isn't that bad to do without. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Solstice in Perspective

This year is my favorite time of year.  I mean that.  And I guarantee I will say that at least seventeen more times this year. All of these photos were taken from the same exact spot as the last rays of light fell behind the mountains on the longest day of the year.  Same spot, same subject, just different perspective as I zoomed in with the sun in the background.

Where the thick grass grow tall
When the sun rays grow long
There's no better place to sit
And change your perspective

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Passing the Torch, Literally.

My grandmother is an incredible lady.  She just gets me and sometimes I think that I am one of the few people that get her.  When I met up with her and my parents just before my pinning ceremony she had a special gift for me.  It was stuffed inside a zip-lock back and covered in bubble wrap.  I had to work to even see what it was, but when I finally uncovered the gift I was incredibly touched.

She had given me her lamp that she lit during her "Lighting Ceremony" almost fifty years ago.  They didn't do a pinning ceremony like we do today, but rather they "passed the torch", just as Florence Nightingale did with her nursing students over a century ago.  While we weren't lightning torches or candles I almost wished that we were, so I could use the one my grandmother did.  Instead I will cherish this and smile as I look at the burned wick.  I bet my grandmother, almost half a century ago, felt the same way I do know as she held the lamp in her hands.  

I am so happy and proud that she chose me to share her story and her past with and I really hope that one day I can do the same with not only my pin, but her lamp.  My grandmother told me that I will be the third nurse in the family.  Besides herself, my great great great grandmother was a self taught nurse who cared for her husband after he lost both his legs in a railroad accident.  Once he died she cared for other people in her community.  My grandmother said she will write me and include pictures to tell me all about my great great great grandmother Louise.  I can't wait to get those letters. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Keeping with Tradition.

While deep down I tend to be a rebel and a fight for what I think is right, kind of person, but as I've grown older I've learned something more important than standing up for what you think is right.  I've learned to pick my battles.  While I disagree with the way the pinning ceremony was organized and how the person in charge was presenting us (or rather not presenting us) with the details of the evening I realized that it wasn't worth the battle.  What would two or three more hours wearing my dingy, uncomfortable scrubs really matter?  It wouldn't... as long as I could ignore the rest of the piddly annoyances.

See, I can smile while wearing my scrubs!  Shawn was trying to hide his excitement for sitting in a crowded room for over an hour with no formal direction as to what was going on or what we were suppose to be doing.  We missed out on desert because no one announced it was time to eat it.  The bigger tragedy was that I missed out on getting a roll.  They were gone by the time we realized we could just walk up and grab and get food.

The confusion of dinner abruptly ended as we were called to the stage where we say awkwardly and listened to speech after speech about new beginnings, fulfilled accomplishments, and demands that we never stop learning, ever.  Honestly, very little of it sank in.  I was nervous.  Every other student was being pinned by our clinical instructors.  I was the only one being pinned by someone special and that made me a spectacle.  Being a spectacle makes me sweat and feel like I have to run to the bathroom.  Thankfully I did neither and when they finally called my name to be pinned I walked to the end of the stage, didn't fall over, and met my grandmother.

They specially announced her and detailed her nursing career over the last four decades. She was more nervous than I was by far, but her smile seemed undeterred. I handed over my tiny little pin and watched her fumble with it a little as she put it through my scrubs.  It seemed like she was trying to put in on me for such a lengthy period of time and part of me worried if she would actually get it pinned on, correctly but she did.  Then we hugged.  I was happy, she was proud, and everyone clapped. 

 This is all of us 10 months ago and the first time we ever wore our scrub tops.  Its amazing to look back and think how naive we all were and what we would face over the next three semesters.  Some faces left our program before it ended. Oh, and I look like a boy, ugh.

Vermont Technical College 2010 LPN class and faculty of the Lyndonville Extended Campus
We are apparently the first LPN class for this Extended Campus.  I'm a trail blazer! ha

Then it was all over.  Before everyone scattered to socialize with their families and headed outside for some fresh summer air we took one last group photo.  It's amazing how much we've grown in the last ten months.  How close some of us have come and how we've all been tested so much.  Some of these girls I won't ever see again and when I go back to my RN year next year some of them won't be there. It won't be the same.  The jokes, stress, laughter, and drama that I've been accustomed to over the past ten months has passed.  And now its onto the next thing, for each of us.   

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Drum Roll Please......

Phew, what a weekend!  I can't wait to share everything will you, but first there is a little bit of business to take care of first....  Those giveaways that have been going on, its now time to announce the winners!

MaggiB Bag:
Congratulations to Paige Faulker @ Some Days You Gotta Dance 

She was the lucky randomly selected person!  Thanks for entering everyone and I hope that all your Father's Day plans you shared with me came to fruition.  There are some lucky men out there!  Paige, please email me at 

NEK Photography Daisy Print - My give away on my photo blog

Congratulations to Lioness @ A Day in the Life of a Mutt.  She was the lucky randomly selected person!  Lioness, please email me at  If you are interested in this print, but either didn't enter or didn't win please send me an email or comment.  I will offer it at a really discounted price for a limited time! 

Oh, and I will be a featured guest post over at, where they offer cheap airfare, soon.  My piece will feature some of my photography and talk about the awesome town I call home.  I'll let you know when the article is posted!

And Stay Tuned
Regular Posting Will Resume Tomorrow!

Friday, June 18, 2010

A MaggiB for Me! Oh, and You Too!

Hello my SITSah's and Friday Followers and new friends (and old ones!)  

I've got a lot going on in my life right now!  And there is a lot going on here.  What do I mean exactly?

There is an ongoing June photo assignment.
See the details about a MaggieB giveaway.
Enter to win a poster sized custom daisy print.

Oh, and my parents and grandmother are here in Vermont, all the way from the ruralness of Maryland's Eastern Shore!  I am graduating, being pinned, and just generally enjoying a weekend with family, friends, and husband.  There are going to be high points (graduating), low points (saying goodbye to friends not going on to the RN year), and suspense (what will I wear?!).  All that followed by hopefully catching a few awesome photos of the renown balloon festival in Quechee Vermont.  Its going to be one heck of a weekend!

Thanks for visiting!  I'd love for you to follow me! There's too much going on for you to not!

There's a point to this story... Its called a Giveaway!  Read on.

About once a year I buy a new handbag.  Trust me, its absolutely nothing stylish and more functional than anything.  My handbag has to stand up to a lot of unusual tests.  It goes on every ambulance call with me.  I cram things into it and spill everything possible on and into it.  If you ever thought I was a neat person then you have been sadly and seriously misinformed.  

For some reason last year I never bought a new bag.  I am not sure why.  Perhaps it was because I couldn't find one that just "called out" to me.  Or maybe I've just been too busy with the rest of my life to pay attention to the degraded state that has befallen my handbag.  

Here it is in all its glory.  Somehow the yellowish indoor light hides the horrible coffee stains, ink blobs, and jelly from my morning toast that decided to cling to the outside of it one morning.  Its so bad that washing it with bleach won't get the stains out and I am embarrassed to take it anywhere in public.  So that kind of defeats the purpose of having it to begin with doesn't it? 

So the other day Shawn and I went to L.L Cote's for no other reason except to go for a drive on a rainy day and shake of some cabin fever.  I was browsing household items in search of more moose paraphernalia to add to the decor of our home when I came across this bag.  

It was marked down and sitting off to the side in a corner.  The tag read "MaggiB".  I had never heard of or seen her handbags, but they called to me.  I loved this one instantly.  The quilted fabric, function size, and unusual, colorful pattern were exactly what I was looking for and I wasn't even looking to begin with.  Minutes later this handbag was mine and I must say that so far its definitely the best bag I've ever owned.  

After looking up MaggiB on the internet I found out a couple of things.  They are fairly pricey, much more expensive than I found my handbag.  They come in tons of unique colors and designs.  And apparently you can't just buy them at any old store or even any specific store, but rather at small little retailers across the internet and eBay.  

Would you like one of these bags?!   Particularly this bag?

Because I am graduating, love my own handbag, and am a generally awesome woman I am giving away a MaggiB Pink Blossom quilted handbag to one of you!  To enter please leave a comment below answering this quesetion:

"What are you giving or doing for the Father/important man in your life on Father's Day?"

Entries will be accepted until 8pm EST Sunday and the winner will be selected by random drawing.  I'll post the winner sometime Sunday night after all the weekend hubbub has come to an end!  Oh, Would you like an extra chance to win?  If you are a follower of my blog you'll get your name entered twice into the drawing!

And my giveaway over at my photoblog NEK Photography is ongoing until Sunday too!  Check it out. 

Have a great weekend!


Its also Friday Follow!  
I love new friends and hope you follow me alone here at Cabin Fever in Vermont. 
Check out my other great Friday Follow Friends while you're at it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Flying By The Seat of My Pants - And Not Crashing!

All year long I have been filling my little head with facts, theories, and practices in preparation for one test, the NCLEX.  In a couple weeks I will actually pay my $200 to sit in front of a giant computer screen and play a game of multiple choice.  If I am a winner I will be rewarded with an LPN license, but if I lose I will forfeit my spot for the RN year and drastically change my future.  No pressure, right? 

I really had no pretense to guage how I'd do on the exam until yesterday when I took the ATI practical nursing NCLEX practice exam.  After all our lectures were said and done the school scheduled a test day for us to help identify areas of weakness and give them an idea how prepared we are for the actual NCLEX.  For three hours we sat in a fridgid computer lab staring at a monitor filled with small type and oddly worded questions.  The sound of computer mice clicking in succession with each answer was at first a mild annoyance, but near the end of the test the persistent noise was akin to a Chinese Water Torture test.  Then finally.  It was over.  

After answering 180 questions, reading them over and over, trying to remember normal blood serum levels of potassium and what the heck carbamazepine does, I waited anxiously for my score to be tabulated.  I had flown by the seat of my pants and not reviewed any of the material.  I'd like to say that was intention, that I wanted a "raw" view of how I would do on the test without studying, but really I barely have time to properly study for my two weekly tests let alone the NCLEX.  That will have to wait until after I graduate this weekend. 

Finally my results printed out...

So the results are in and without studying I have a 97% chance of passing the NCLEX on the first try based on these test results!  Don't let that individual score of 75% fool you.  They adjust the percent somehow so that a 79% is as good as you can get.  I actually got 136 of 150 questions correct (there were 30 experimental questions that didn't count), meaning my real score is a 90.6%.  According to these results I am well above much of my peers.  What great news!

A fellow classmate and I were joking about how neither of us had studied or reviewed any material and our instructor overheard.  She was concerned, came over to us, and said  "Even though you didn't study for this you still should study for your boards." 

We giggled.  Of course we are going to study for the actual NCLEX exam!

Maybe just not as hard.

Just kidding!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Phobia and My Life's Ambitions

Yesterday I spent almost eight hours driving the countryside of Vermont in search of photographic scenes, the entire afternoon driving down winding roads I've never traveled singing to the radio with the window down.  It was heaven.  The shear amount of hours I put into my photography is akin to a full time job.  Sometimes its exhausting.  When I came home late last night, long after the twilight had faded, I was barely awake, but it was a good feeling, like a good day at work.  Only it isn't work.  Its a hobby, no matter how much I wish  and want it to be more. 

This is an example of my fear and how I feel about my photography.

Rather than storm chaser it should say "Photographer".  

I struggle with classifying myself as a photographer.  When people asked if I am amateur or professional I don't know what to say.  What is the distinction?  When do you cross that imaginary canyon from hobbyist to career?  Clearly I can't make a living off of snapping my shutter (yet), but that doesn't mean I don't want to.  I am more than afraid that I will spend my life saying "maybe next year..." and then there will be no more years left.  How do I know that this year is not the year?  How do I know it is?  I don't.

I think my next fear will be saying "This year is the year..."  and being wrong.  But I'd rather be wrong now than right about saying maybe next year.  Its humbling to be afraid. 

We all have fears that are dreams unrealized.  What are you "afraid" to be?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Does Anyone Have a Spare Owl?

We have an unusual Home and Garden dilemma.  As far as I am aware this is a fairly unique problem and we may be the only people ever to have this particular issue.  What am I talking about exactly?

That, my friend, is wood pecker.  I think it is a Lesser Spotted woodpecker to be specific. Yes, I googled that so If you are an aviary expert, know more than I do about woodpeckers (which would be anything), and can correctly identify the species let me know! So what is the deal with this woodpecker?

Apparently this woodpecker has an evolutionary flaw.  Rather than pecking one of the hundreds (thousands) of trees surrounding our home it has decided his day would be better spent pecking the crap out of my satellite dish.  Can you see him?

There's the little turd.  He decided to perch himself exactly in the transponder and happily peck away.  At first I just laughed at the bird's ignorance and figured he would get the idea that he couldn't make a home out of our receiver, but the pecking continued for days.  The clanging was annoying, but I didn't think there was any other issue besides nuisance noise.  When I finally sat down to relax I then realized that I had a whole other problem.

The woodpecker was sitting exactly in the transponder so he was blocking the signal. That was something I was not about to tolerate.  No way.  My television time is so infrequent that when I finally get  chance to veg in front of the tube it is a sacred and protected moment of zen.  No man or redheaded feathered creature was going to stand in my way.

Every twenty minutes I kept having to run outside and scare the bird and every twenty minutes he would come back to the same exact spot and resume pecking all over again.  I would lose signal all over again and my patience would shorten even more.  Now I am pretty sure that these dang birds are protected so I couldn't just go out there and shoot it.  Plus, I am a bad shot and didn't want to blow a whole in my satellite dish.  That just wouldn't be very productive.  Instead I resorted to throwing rocks at it.  Don't worry.  I also suck at throwing rocks.  The stupid thing just flew off about thirty feet and looked at me in that sideways way birds do.  Apparently woodpeckers detest owls, or maybe owls are their predators, but either way I didn't have a spare owl floating around to scare the thing off.  Finally, being mad enough that even the rocks didn't deter him from returning to the dish I literally followed him tree to tree and chased him about 500 yards into the woods where he was surrounded my hundreds of trees and no satellite dishes.  

Maybe he will get the idea, find a nice real tree, and not come back? For my sanity and his protected behind I hope so!

Monday, June 14, 2010

NEK Photography goes Artsy with a Give Away!

Remember my photoblog?  The blog where I post random photos, articles, and stuff in general about photography because I was clogging up this blog with all my excess photo jargon?  Yeah.  That blog.  Well, this week is going to be a busy and fun  week so because of that I am hosting my first ever giveaway over on my NEK Photography Blog!   I am super stoked about what I am giving away so you must head over there and check it out.

Part III of the LPN Year about our first clinical day before we truly encounter real patients has also been published!  If you need to catch up on parts I and II you can read them by clicking on the links on the right sidebar.

And this is what I do while I am at work and no one is calling 911... 

And because inquiring minds want to know:
 What was the most interesting thing that happened to you this weekend?!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Decide and Clarify

I wanted to thank all  of you for your input to my ensemble dilemma that I am facing!  You have all been very insightful and offered a wide variety of opinions and I appreciate your worldly advice so much.  Some of your ideas you offered were great and I definitely never would have thought of them. 

I feel like I need to clarify that the school is not hosting the ceremony nor do they have anything to with the ceremony.  It was our class idea of how to spend our activity money the school refused to refund us individually.  We had to do a "group" activity.  Other nursing sites in our program have gone out to dinner together as a group to local restaurants.  Our group chose to do a pinning ceremony.  The decision to wear scrubs was announced "off the cuff", sort of last minute, by the girl in my class we entrusted to organize the ceremony.  We aren't suppose to wear any other scrubs.  The one and only option is the green and white mess that I was anticipating never having to wear again after last week.  When it comes to a cap and gown for graduation I completely agree with following that tradition and I do have a cap and gown that I am wearing the very next day at our actual graduation ceremony.  

So I have been doing some mulling over your advice and other advice from people in my life outside of the internet and have come to a decision.  What did I decide?  I'll leave you in suspense until I post about it sometime next weekend! 

Meanwhile, have a wonderful weekend! 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Decisions Decisions...

I have a decision to make.  In just one week I will be GRADUATING from my LPN year of school and next week we have our pinning ceremony followed by graduation the next day.  Its turning into quite the grand occassion.  My parents and my grandmother, who happens to be an LPN herself, are coming all the way up here from Maryland for the pinning and commencement.  Since my grandmother is an nurse she will be the one actually pinning me.  Tradition is that only a fellow nurse is allowed to pin a newly graduating nurse.  Because my grandmother gets to participate and pin me, her oldest granddaughter, I am more than happy to follow this tradition.  Its the other tradition I have an issue with...

A few days ago my husband graciously went shopping with me, something he hates doing, and helped me pick out two cute shirts to wear for both ceremonies.  The very next day at class, after we went to two different stores to find just the right clothes and spent almost a hundred dollars, a girl in my class who has been elected to organize the pinning ceremony stood in front of us with an announcement.  "Just so you all know, it is tradition to wear your scrubs to the pinning ceremony so that's what we are going to do.  Everyone needs to wear their scrubs."

This is what we are expected to wear to the pinning ceremony.  I absolutely HATE my nursing scrubs.  It is the uniform we have been required to wear all year at every one of our clinical rotations.  The white pants are pretty much see-through so the entire world can see our underwear and the shirt is boxy and uncomfortable.  I'll save you my whining further, but the bottom line is I don't want to wear these.   When my grandmother pins me I want to wear something nice.  Something that when I look back at the photos I won't sneer or want to hide them.  I should add that we are also paying for every single bit of this ceremony.  The school billed each us for $280 of extra money and rather than returning it they are 'allowing' us to spend it on this ceremony.  To add insult to injury we had to buy our own pins to pin ourselves separately at $20 each. 

This is the outfit that I had planned on wearing and want to wear.  I love this blouse!  Plus, I never dress up so for something so important, particularly for my grandmother (this ceremony literally means the world to her) I want to look pretty, not scrubby.  Shawn is for me wearing the outfit that he stood around in a store waiting for while I tried it on and then paid for it.  My instructor, who politely said she would "hate me if I ruin the ceremony by being the only one not in scrubs.", tells me just to wear it to graduation the next day.  But what about my other top!  I protested to her and she just replied "return it or make your husband take you out to dinner somewhere nice."  Hmm... that is a good idea, but I just hate my scrubs so much.  Did I already mention that I hate my scrubs?  I just want to make sure you have been listening.

Now that you have all the facts...  I need your advice! 
As I see the situation I have two choices and it really could go either way...

Should I wear my scrubs and fit in with everyone else?  Try and overcome the ugliness of my outfit during such an important moment with my family and grandmother?  And just tell Shawn to deal with having spent two hours shopping with me for naught?


Should I be a rouge LPN graduate and wear the outfit that I spent time and money to pick out? Make Shawn happy?  Make some of my classmates and instructor angry?  And look good in photographs I'll cherish forever?

Oh heavens... What should I do?!  

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Irony? or Lucky?

Every time I work the weather seems to go sour.  Whether its a snow storm, thunderstorm, or any other form of natural disaster, if it strikes the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont there is a good chance that I am working.  For most people working while the weather is bad isn't a big deal, but for me it is.  That is because I love and live to take photos of bad weather, but also my workload usually increases proportionately to the severity of the weather.  Today was a perfect example.  

Like any sane person, when the threat of severe weather approaches I make sure my camera is ready.  When they issued a tornado warning at 1pm I was practically peeing my pants with excitement.  I watched the radar like a hawk and when the time was right I left the station in a flash and began running up the giant hill nearby known as "President's Hill."  Up on the hill top is a wonderful view of the entire Northern sky.  That is where I set up my camera and began prepared to snap some photos.

I watched an incredible storm approach from the north west.  Thunder was booming and echoing from the storm, but I was unable to capture any lightning before the storm got too close.  There was an eerie feeling up on top of that hill.   Normally I am fearless and full of adrenaline when facing storms like these, but as I stood up there holding onto a metal tripod felt a little scared and in danger.  Apparently with good reason...

As a giant wall of rain quickly approached from my left I ran as fast as I could down the hill back to the station.  When I reached the door it just started raining and my breathing was so labored it felt as if my diaphragm had ruptured.  Having only been inside and dry for a matter of seconds the radio airwaves opened up and our familiar tones were sounded.  "Lyndon Rescue please respond to the Kingdom Trails for two people struck by lightning."  I think the words "Holy crap" came out of my mouth at that moment. 

We wailed lights and sirens to the trail entrance and then took it further down the trail than I thought we would be able to go.  Dispatch did not provide us with any information whatsoever except a general trail name the complainants were probably on, giving us the excuse that the cell caller was cut off.  A paramedic was called.  Remote rescue units with a four wheeler were called.  Trail guides were contacted and called in.  Everyone convened in the woods and we began the two mile excursion down to the victims.  It was the longest two miles I've ever ridden. 

Both people struck were alive and conscious when we finally arrived.  Apparently an entire group of people were caught in the severe storm and huddled under some trees for shelter in the 65mph winds and golf ball sized hail.  Two of them that were side by side were struck.  The bolt hit one person and was visibly seen jumping in a blue arc to the next person.  The first person struck was able to bike out of the woods and refused treatment, but the second person involved was more seriously injured.  If you've ever done the electric fence trick to your buddy you know how such a scenario works.  If you are holding onto your friend's hand and touch an electric fence the electricity will go through you and into your buddy.  You won't be hurt, but your friend will feel all the pain.  That's what happened in this scenario.  

The patient was cold and wet, having been caught out in the driving rain from the storm.  We didn't waste time following our protocols and packaging everything up for two mile ride back out.  As we headed back out we kept being radioed by people waiting for us at the ambulance that another severe storm was coming.  Soon we could hear thunder and lightning and the sky was quickly growing black behind us.  We traversed the muddy and flooded trail slowly, but made it back and into the ambulance about a minute before a tremendous downpour began. 

Despite the seriousness of being struck by lightning both people appeared to be doing well.  Death was not imminent, if that is what you think of when someone is struck by lightning (heck, that is what I think of).  On the outside they appeared fine except for one man.  He had very weird purplish bruises on the tops of his feet that resembled the Harry Potter lightning bolt scar.  Those were the exit wounds from the lighting and I was shocked to see they really looked like a lightning bolt.  If only it wasn't a privacy violation to take a photo of his injuries   

All I kept thinking the entire time was how crazy is it that I could sit on top of a hill amidst the same storm with a metal rod and camera in my hands while these people huddle in a wooded area under trees and they are the ones struck by lightning.  I was trying to photograph the very storm and lightning that struck them.  How ironic?  And How lucky am I to have not been the one struck?!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bilingual Sisterhood

My little sister has just graduated high school.  Let me repeat that.  My babiest, bestest, littlest sister is now a high school graduate.  I'm not ready for that.  When I moved out of my parent's house and went to college seven years ago she was eleven.  She still watched cartoons every morning and loved pokemon.  Now she is practically an adult.  Holy Crap! An Adult!  

One thing you have to know about my sister is that out of the three of us (yes, my poor parents have three girls crammed into about seven years) is that Liz is by far the smartest of all of us.  She was third in her class of two hundred and something.  ThirdI was forty third.  Her ambitions are to be an epidemiologist or a research pathologist.  Seriously. I can't hold a candle to her ambitions.

But, with her intellect aside I am still her big sister and since she was able to coo and formulate coordinated motions she has looked up to me.  I've been her 'Big Sister' and her rock since the dawn of her memories.  We've got a special bond and a weird way of showing it.  That's how sisters are.  If you're a sister then you know what I am talking about.  So when I was in the grocery store the other day and saw a row full of these I knew I had to get one for her.

Yes, those are French graduation cards.  Don't be fooled, I was in an American grocery store that I frequent a couple of times of month when we need "big city" groceries that our little town doesn't stock.  The store and the town its in just happens to boarder Quebec, the French speaking province of Canada.  My sister took three years of French in high school so I knew one of these would be perfect for her.  You just can't buy French cards in Maryland grocery stores.

I browsed through the rows of cards not knowing what a single one said except for a couple of hints from illustrations and a few words that resembled English.  The one I finally chose was the one above that appeared relatively elementary.  Something about the elementary looking stick figure appealed to my poor understanding about what was actually on the card.

I really hope it is a cute and appropriate graduation card.  Whether or not it is appropriate I know that Liz will love it and find the humor just because the card is French.  Understanding it is unnecessary, just like our bond. 

If you happened to be more linguistic than me (which doesn't take much) and can translate this card please at least let me know if its a cute graduation card!